This Goodly Land

Brad Watson (July 24, 1955–present)

Other Names Used

Alabama Connections

Selected Works

Literary Awards

Biographical Information

Brad Watson was born and grew up in Meridian, Miss. He became interested in theater in high school, and, after graduation, went to California to look for work in Hollywood as a set-builder. Unable to find a movie job due to a strike, Watson worked as a garbage collector. After about a year, he returned to Meridian and worked in a variety of jobs, including carpentry and bartending. He also attended Meridian Junior College, where he became interested in writing. Watson earned a BA in English at Mississippi State University in Starkville in 1978. He then enrolled at the University of Alabama, earning an MFA in creative writing and American literature in 1985. In the mid-1980s, Watson also worked for a weekly newspaper on the Gulf Coast. He later wrote for the Montgomery Advertiser and for an advertising agency in Montgomery.

From 1988 to 1997, Watson was employed by the University of Alabama as an instructor and as a writer in the public relations office. During this time, he was also writing short stories. Several were published in literary journals such as The Greensboro Review and Story. A collection, Last Days of the Dog-Men, was published in 1996. The following year, Watson moved to Massachusetts where he held a five-year appointment as a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard University. He published a novel, The Heaven of Mercury, in 2002. Watson then moved to Pensacola, where he was writer-in-residence for a year at the University of West Florida. He spent a semester teaching at the University of Alabama at Birmingham before being appointed the John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. In 2005, Watson became a member of the English faculty of the University of Wyoming and moved to Laramie.

Interests and Themes

Brad Watson’s fiction is set in the South and frequently involves failed interpersonal relationships. Last Days of the Dog-Men is a collection of short stories about dogs and people. The Heaven of Mercury is set in a fictional town that is based partly on his hometown of Meridian, Miss., and partly on Alabama Gulf Coast towns like Foley and Gulf Shores.

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Reference Web Sites

Photo by Rickey Yanaura; courtesy of W. W. Norton.

Last updated on Mar 06, 2008.

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